UPDATE 2-CPPIB returns boosted by equity gains
* Qtrly performance boosted by Petronas-Progress deal
* CEO says fund will continue to diversify its portfolio
* Net assets in fiscal Q3 rise to C$172.6 bln
By Euan Rocha
TORONTO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, one of the world's biggest pension funds, said on Friday investment returns grew in its fiscal third quarter as global equity markets strengthened.
Returns for the period, ended Dec. 31, received an added bump from one of the largest energy deals of 2012 - the takeover of Canadian natural gas producer Progress Energy by Malaysian state oil company Petronas for C$5.17 billion ($5.16 billion).
CPPIB, which manages Canada's national pension fund, said it had made C$384 million in equity investments in Progress in 2010 and 2011. It sold these investments for C$780 million, when the Petronas-Progress deal closed late last year.
The fund manager said it ended the quarter with net assets of C$172.6 billion, up from C$170.1 billion at the end of the previous quarter.
CPPIB and its Canadian pension fund peers like the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec have been among the world's most active dealmakers in recent years, making major bets in Canada and abroad. Continued...